A Walk in the Park Turbo
It's been a looooooong time since my last #1GAM entry. This time around, I started making a classic text adventure; a project I've been wanting to do for at least month. I was heavily inspired by a documentary called Get Lamp.
The game is called "A Walk in the Park Turbo", as it lovingly shares the moniker for #CharityGameJam II Turbo. The Charity Button (visible in the animation) points the player directly to the donation page for Child's Play Charity. Don't forget to make a contribution!
About the Game
"A Walk in the Park Turbo" follows in the footsteps of the earliest video games, which can be classified under the genre "interactive fiction". If you've ever read a "choose your own adventure" book, you know exactly how these games play; the player is thrown into a scenario, and left to her own devices to discover the correct actions to claim victory.
The classic text adventures are remarkably minimalistic, but can be surprisingly deep. AWITPT was made in just two days. And though there is not a whole lot to actually do, the biggest parts of the game were made near the end of that two-day sprint. Most of the development time went into building the core foundation. Which is a shockingly simple JSON data structure that the game dynamically modifies as you make your way through the puzzles.
How to Play
Text adventures are notorious for being difficult to get a grasp on. Especially for beginners. Because the user interface is all about typing commands, you'll find yourself stuck often until you can figure out which commands the programmer expects you to type ... and sometimes even in the proper order!
The general recommendation to get started is to try typing different words, and see what happens. In AWITPT, the commands are almost always verbs (but they can be shortened in some cases). There are movement commands, like "go" or "walk" which also expect a direction. Or you might be able to shorten it to just the direction. Another common command is "look" or "search" to look at your surroundings, and at items that may be available in your current location. You can also take items, and use items, check your bag (inventory), and inspect or use items in your bag. Items in your bag can also be used on some of the stuff you see in the area.
Text adventures are all about puzzles; How to find the right items, and use them correctly to unlock new paths. AWITPT is no different! To date, there are only 6 available areas, with most of them serving a purpose of gaining one or more items. Getting into two of those area requires using one of the items you can collect. ;)
Music and Sound Effects
I composed the music many years ago, originally as a soundtrack for a short film idea I had, called "Milksharks". The concept was a bit absurd and comedic; tiny sharks that swim around in your cereal bowl. The film never got started, but I was inspired enough to create a short music track for it. It's a calm tune that starts with an upbeat cello, and evolves over to other instruments.
The soundtrack is available on Soundcloud.
All of the sound effects (the punches and kicks on the logo) were sourced from CC0 (public domain) sounds made available on freesound.org.
The Future of A Walk in the Park Turbo
Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, this genre is one I've really wanted to try my hand at. So I'm glad I've finally got the basis for it worked out. I'm sure I'll come back to this one to add more areas and stuff to do. I don't actually have any story elements planned for it. I want to just let it evolve naturally. In a very silly, almost dream-like game world. The best part about making a text adventure is that anything I can imagine can be put into the game. As realistic or as fantastic as I like. This game is truly a medium for artistic expression.
Apart from adding the more areas to explore, I also want to add some pretty visual effects. The game is written with a 2D canvas, so why not use it! Audio is another thing I want to highlight. Both of these enhancements will feel very much out of place in an old school text adventure. But that's really what I'm going for, here! Bringing a classic genre up to modern standards. The addition of the "Turbo" subtitle kind of sets that stage, both in name and in its very introduction on the title screen.
Make Games ...
Play online : http://blipjoy.github.io/awitp/public/index.html
Source code : https://github.com/blipjoy/awitp
#CharityGameJam : http://www.charitygamejam.com/
#1GAM : http://www.onegameamonth.com/kodewerx
Twitter : @kodewerx
With that, I will leave you with my traditional closing statement;
Make Games, Support Charity!